Have fun learning how to design your space while being kind to the environment!
|Say It with Style||If Only I Could Have||Everyone Walks Between Me and TV||What a Deal||Would It Be Wood?||Finish It with Fabric||Stash My Stuff||Taking Care of Things||Why Clean?|
|Finishing the Look||Showcasing Your Favorites||Lights On||A Little Privacy, Please||Ideas for Accessories|
|Energy to Burn?||Energy to Save||Use Natural Resources Wisely||Down the Drain||The Sunny Side||The Windy Side of Energy||Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink||Our Global Footprint|
Success Indicator: You will be able to select quality furniture.
Life Skills Practiced: Critical thinking and wise use of resources.
Project Skills Practiced: Comparing furniture construction and purchasing quality.
Furniture Materials and Characteristics
Woods: Solid, Plywood, Veneer, Hardboard, Particle Board, Composite wood, etc.
|Paper/Cardboard||Paper is often used as a base for photographed wood and attached as a film over less expensive materials to look like wood. A thin layer or film such as "plastic" or other clean finish covers the paper. Unless covered with a very protective surface, it is not as durable to heat, moisture, heavy use, scratches and is not easily cleaned. It cannot be refinished or repaired easily. Often used in low-cost furniture.|
|Metals: Steel, aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, iron||Metals can be strong depending on their weight and construction methods. Stainless steel resists rusting. Other metals may need coatings or finishes to prevent rusting or oxidation. Coatings will affect the look and rust resistance and durability of surface. Usually easy to care for. Some copper and brass coatings are very thin and care wear away. Iron needs a protective coating to prevent rust.|
|Glass||Tempered or heavier glass is stronger than lightweight glass. Look for 1/2" thickness or more. Easy to clean. Glass can be fragile and break.|
|Plastics:||Plastics vary in ability to withstand heat, scratching, chemicals and sun. Plastics are generally strong but lightweight. Most plastics are made from oil, but some are now made from soybeans and other materials. Some plastics scratch easily and are affected by chemicals or cleaners. Plastics are often made to look like other materials like carved wood. The finish will sometimes wear away, revealing the plastic base underneath.|
|Bamboo and Rattan||Strong materials for their weight. Resists water. Good construction is important. Check the joint areas.
Rattan is strong and durable. Rattan poles should be smooth and consistent in size. High grade rattan is light in color and free of dark blemishes.
Bamboo resembles rattan but is hollow, not solid. Joints in bamboo tend to bulge and are dark. Bamboo is less flexible, which limits its bending capability.
Wicker is a construction technique rather than a material. Wicker furniture can be made of rattan, reed, willow, bamboo, flexible twigs or branches.
|Marble||Marble is sometimes used for furniture surfaces or tops. It can break - especially along the veining lines. Travertine marble is very porous and is usually filled and polished before it is used for furniture. Marble can stain from acids (sodas, drinks etc.), oils, metals, etc. Over time, the marble surface may scratch and look worn if the sealer wears away.|
Learn more about the different types of wood at Demesne: Definitions for Wood Furniture
Learn some tips for selecting quality furniture with G95-1247 Selecting Case Goods–Woods (110 KB PDF)